Sticky Dough? What causes?

Is it just too wet? Some of my best pizza crusts have been slightly
sticky, but other efforts have been too sticky to handle and at the
same time warning me about the addition of too much flour.
This ultra stickiness is to board and to hands, usually requiring a
scraper to quasi- knead the dough. I'm guess that's not a proper
kneading at all--more a brusing insult to the dough.
I live in an ultra humid climate, usually, but last night and for the
past few days it's been almost desert dry. The flour, either Gold
Medal or King Arthur AP was a couple a months old.
So when the dough is ultra-sticky do I just keep adding flour or handle
it with a scraper and repeatedly oiled hands.
Reply to
Baking bread at home is not an exact science. I don't measure the liquid when I bake bread. I simply use enough to produce the quality of dough that I want. Some dough is very sticky - like ciabatta. In that case, you do have to use a bench scraper and oiled or floured hands to knead. For most dough you only want a very slightly sticky texture. So, yes, if your dough is too sticky you have added too much liquid and/or fat. Low gluten flour does not absorbed as much liquid as high gluten flour. I think people make too much out of the ambient humidity and the change in hydration of the four due to storage conditions - but that's just my opinion.
It has been a long time since I made bread entirely by hand. But generally you put the flour in a large bowl and stir in the liquid until it is a sticky mass. Then the dough is turned out onto a well floured board and worked. It will continue to pick up flour as needed until it form a ball with a smooth, elastic consistency. At that point you don't want to continue to add flour. I would also recommend that you error on the sticky side when in doubt. The sticky dough will tend to be less sticky after it rests and ferments.
Reply to
Vox Humana
In article , says...
Vhumana's answer is a good one, I think, and I would like to add this, professional bakers do not use the word recipe. Instead they say formula, which tells you something about both the science and art of baking. There are so many variables that you need experience to guide you away from sticky messes or leaden lumps. Starting out by measuring and weighing as precisely as you can is the best way to get where you're going in baking. IMHO, of course.
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Too warm a liquid will produce a sticky product. A warm dough is just sticky. Have you been trying to hurry things along with a warmer than usual liquid? Janet
Reply to
Janet Bostwick
I was told to get the right ratio of flour to water it is best to weigh the flour instead of using measuring cups The problem is, that I have never found a chart showing how much a cup of each of the various types of flours weighs. So, I also use the feel method. BobbiJo
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If you look at the nutrition label on a product you can often find the weight of a cup or tablespoon of ingredients. For instance, most AP flour says "one serving = 30 grams or 1/4 cup." From that, you can calculate that one cup of that flour is 120 grams. Another comprehensive source for ingredient weight per unit is the USDA database:
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you have any books by Rose Levy Beranbaum (The Cake Bible, The BreadBible, The Pie and Pastry Bible) there are good charts that give the weightfor a cup of many ingredients including various types of flour (AP flour,sifted cake flour, whole wheat flour, etc.) I make all of my bread in the food processor or the stand mixer. I generally put the bowl on a scale and add the flour. I have done this so often that I can "eyeball" the proper amount of flour in the food processor. I add all the other ingredients, including instant yeast and pulse to mix. With the motor running, I slowly add the liquid until a ball forms that rotates around the bowl. After about a minute of kneading, I slowly drip in liquid until the mass becomes a bit sticky and ALMOST grabs the bowl. At that point I remove the dough, round it up, and put it in an oiled bowl to rise.
The amount of liquid depends on the type of flour I decide to use. For AP flour, 500 grams of flour might take a cup of liquid. For high-gluten bread flour from Costco, it might take over 1 1/2 cups. I think what matters is that the dough is right, not how much liquid was used. For people use to baking and expect to deal with precise measurements this can be counterintuitive. We all are told that baking requires strict measurements. Generally I agree, but I think that home bread baking is an exception.
Reply to
Vox Humana
I proofed my yeast in 110 deg. water for 15 minutes, as per instructions, so the water was probably around 90, maybe, when I added an egg mixture, then gradually the flour. I was making yeast rolls.
After spoon-mixing until smooth I glopped it onto a floured board and tried to knead. Could only handle it with a bench scraper. After gently slapping it around for a while I got the dough into an oiled bowl for a rise, 90 minutes until "doubled" but the rise was a flat one.
Trying to roll dough into small balls was tough since the dough was still ultra sticky. Let rise again. Then cooked. The rolls were delicious, if slightly flat and uneven in size--shaper's problem.
Working with sticky dough is simply not pleasant. If this is the plight of every baker then I may return to Sister Shubert's yeast rolls.
Oh, my yeast was Red Star, one of those quick rise kinds and it's maybe a year old in the fridge. The proofing produced only a dozen or two small bubbles. Seemed lazy to me, but what do I know? Should quick-rise yeast be proofed at all and should expect more action, bigger bubbles, a froth?
Reply to
snip> Oh, my yeast was Red Star, one of those quick rise kinds and it's maybe
No, quick rise is intended to be used by mixing in with the flour. Proofing yeast is no longer recommended, particularly for 15 minutes. With Active Dry Yeast, you add the suggested amount of water to the yeast and stir and let sit just for a couple minutes--the idea is simply to hydrate the yeast, not to make it grow. Quick rise and Instant yeast are intended to be mixed with the flour. If you were using packets of any of the yeast varieties, I wouldn't feel comfortable with its liveliness after a year in the fridge. Those packets are pretty unreliable anyway as they seem to be subjected to so much abuse in the grocery store. If you get another super gloppy dough, fold it as much as you can, put it in a greased bowl for 15 minutes and within the bowl, fold some more, then let it rest covered for another 10-15 minutes. If you do this 3,4,5 times, you will end up with a very nice elastic dough that can be handled. Janet
Reply to
Janet Bostwick
On Sat, 28 May 2005 12:23:52 GMT, Stark wrote:
I would suggest that you handle it with a scraper for a few moments to moisten the dry ingredients. Then, wait...
Leave it to rest for fifteen minutes or so.
Then, knead.
During the rest that I am suggesting, the flour will fully hydrate and is likely to produce a dough that is far less sticky.
All the best,
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